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Percentage of Louisiana Adults Who Smoke Fell by Nearly Four Percent from 2019 to 2020

Jan. 12, 2022

New Orleans, La. – (January 11, 2022) – Today, The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and Well-Ahead Louisiana released the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data on adult tobacco use in Louisiana.

From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of Louisiana adults who smoke fell from 21.9 percent to 18.3 percent, a nearly four percent drop. Data shows the largest decreases in Louisiana adult smokers without a high school diploma (40.6 percent in 2019, 34.8 percent in 2020), in households earning below $50,000 (28.3 percent in 2019, 23.7 percent in 2020), in households earning below $15,000 (41.1 percent in 2019, 30.2 percent in 2020), Black men (28.1 percent in 2019, 21.4 percent in 2020), Black women (16.9 percent in 2019, 10.9 percent in 2020), and members of the LGBTQ+ community (28.7 percent in 2019, 23.0 percent in 2020). Additional data can be found here under the “Priority Populations” section.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the 2020 BRFSS data showing a decrease in the number of Louisiana adults who smoke,” said Dr. Earl Benjamin-Robinson, director of TFL. “We know that 2020 was an extremely stressful year for everyone and that cigarette sales increased but more information is needed to assess how stressors like the COVID pandemic and past hurricanes have affected Louisiana’s smoking prevalence. We continue to provide support services for those who want to quit and advocating for smoke-free ordinances to protect Louisianans from secondhand smoke.”

The BRFSS is a collaborative project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US states and territories. The survey is conducted each year via telephone and is designed to collect data on health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

“We applaud anyone who wants to quit tobacco in the new year, because we know it’s not easy, but we also know the health benefits are worth it,” said Jabari Sullen, Division Manager, Tobacco Control and Health Policy of Well-Ahead Louisiana, the chronic disease prevention and healthcare access arm of the Louisiana Department of Health. “By taking advantage of Quit With Us, Louisiana’s quit coaches and nicotine replacement therapy, you’ll start off on the right track and have tools to help you quit for good.”

Louisianans interested in quitting tobacco can visit www.QuitWithUsLa.org or call 1-800-Quit-Now to connect with a quit coach and create a personalized Quit Plan. Coaches are available 24/7, seven days a week. Quit With Us, Louisiana also provides counseling services over the phone, via text, through an app, or on the website chatbox. Quit Coaches can also provide cessation medication and make recommendations on what prescription medications participants can review with their doctor. Young adults and indviduals seeking to quit vaping, can get vaping-specfic cessation assistance by texting “VAPEFREE” to 873373.


The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) engages in local and statewide tobacco control policy efforts that focus on tobacco prevention and initiation among youth, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, promote cessation services, and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. TFL is guided by best practices in tobacco control and envisions a healthier Louisiana by reducing the excessive burden of tobacco use on all Louisianans. For more information visit www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a smoke-free Louisiana, visit www.healthierairforall.org. To learn more about quitting tobacco, visit www.quitwithusla.org.

About the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC)

Founded by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2002, the LCRC is a public-private partnership designed to promote education about cancer and conduct important research on the diagnosis, detection, treatment, and prevention of cancer in Louisiana. The LCRC partners with the public at large and four major cancer research institutions in Louisiana: LSU Health, Tulane University, Ochsner Health System, and Xavier University. More information about the LCRC is available at www.louisianacancercenter.org.

Well-Ahead Louisiana

Well-Ahead Louisiana is the chronic disease prevention and healthcare access arm of the state Department of Health. Well-Ahead connects communities to tools and resources that help improve the health of Louisiana’s residents where they live, work, learn, play and pray. For more information, visit www.wellaheadla.com.

About the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI)

LPHI, founded in 1997, is a statewide community focused 501(c)(3) nonprofit and public health institute committed to ensuring all Louisianans have just and fair opportunities to be healthy and well. Our work focuses on areas that touch public health, including tobacco prevention and control, building healthier communities, assessing needs of communities, supporting the whole health needs of individuals and families from early childhood to older adults, COVID-19, and more. We create authentic partnerships with both communities and partners to align action for health. For more information, visit www.lphi.org.